laws to make it easier and cheaper for pubs to obtain permission to
stage musical performances.
fusion music, at Modal 2002, an annual conference for the UK's non-
mainstream music industry, Kim Howells said:
'I want to ensure that everyone, regardless of where they live,
their culture or ethnic background, gender or ability to pay, has
the opportunity to experience live music.'
Kim Howells spoke to delegates about public entertainment licenses
and their effect on live musical performances in pubs. He said:
'I am firmly committed to the reform and modernisation of our
archaic and at times, wholly stupid, licensing laws. I do not
need persuasion that the 'two musicians rule' is outdated and
The current rule allows one or two singers or musicians to perform in
a pub without the landlord being required to obtain the normal fee-
paid public entertainment licence from the local authority.
Dr Howells continued:
'Simply abolishing the two musicians rule is not enough. Abolition
would remove the exemption and make it harder and more costly for
pubs to put on singers and other musical performers. Our approach is
to simplify and integrate the licensing regimes so that it is easier
and less expensive for pubs to obtain the necessary permission to
stage musical performances. These reforms have to be introduced
through primary legislation - there is no quick fix.
'We intend to bring forward a Bill modernising the licensing
laws as soon as parliamentary time permits.'
The reformed licensing system will sweep away a great deal of current
red tape, which deters many licensees from staging musical and other
public entertainment. But it will still provide protection for
customers and for local residents who can be disturbed by excessive
noise from some premises.
The licensing White Paper - Time for Reform: which was published by
the home office in April 2000 can be found on the DCMS website: